We live in a day when the word “spiritual” is very popular. There is a hunger for spirituality everywhere. You read about it and talk of it, and many people claim to be spiritual. Part of the reason for this trend is that many people are tired of secularism. They know that scientific explanations do not satisfy a hunger within them. It is a hunger that God has placed there. What does it mean to be a spiritual person?
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 reads, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Paul contrasts the “natural person” and the “spiritual person.” The “natural person,” (that is, the everyday normal person) is ingrained to reject the things that come from the Spirit of God. The spiritual person is different because:
1 They are able to discern the eternal value of all things
If you are spiritual, then this entire world – all your experiences, thoughts, plans, relationships,
time spent, etc. – is discerned from an eternal perspective. You have already crossed over from
death to life, so that affects how you understand life.
2 They are not swayed by human opinions or popularity
Paul has already said that the message of the cross is foolishness to the world. The call to be spiritual means that the world will think of you as a fool. People will not understand your mindset.
3 They have received the mind of Christ
What is “the mind of Christ”? The best place in the Bible where Paul describes this is found in
Philippians 2:5-8: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
The first thing we see about Christ’s mind is that He was willing to be humble.
Secondly, the mind of Christ is one of servanthood. Some of us cannot imagine living our lives without satisfying our own needs first – but Jesus came to serve. Thirdly, the mind of Christ is obedience to God. Fourthly, the mind of Christ is a mind that embraces suffering.
One can see how counter cultural this is. What if obedience to God cost you your paycheck, your family, your house and car, your status? Would you still obey? That is the question, is it not? It is exactly what Jesus did, and that puts a challenging twist on being a follower of Jesus. So all who are spiritual, says Paul, have the mind of Christ. All who are spiritual are not swayed by human opinions and they find that the things of God have a welcome place in their hearts. It is this mindset that must permeate the people of God. We must love Jesus and His mindset, gravitating to that which comes from on high. We must love the Word and its teachings.
APPLICATION: Heavenly Father, may this be our mindset: may we grow to become spiritual in all things. In the name of Jesus, our strong Lord, we pray, amen.
SO ALL WHO ARE SPIRITUAL, SAYS PAUL, HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.
Dr. John Neufeld
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